Omni Virtual Reality Treadmill

Posted: June 06, 2013
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Full-body immersion into the world of virtual reality gaming, with a side of actual reality exercise. The Omni isn't the first VR treadmill we've seen (check out the WizDish) but it appears to be the most sophisticated, nicest looking, and, more importantly, most likely to exist in real life in the near future. With an anticipated ship date of January 2014, the Omni dish has nearly quadrupled its $150,000 funding goal a mere 2 days into its run on Kickstarter. Here's why:

  • With Omni, all gamers can stand up, traverse, even sprint through virtual worlds with their own feet. Move freely, naturally, and in a way that burns off a Krispy Kreme or two.
  • As you're doing all of this walking, jumping, and crouching, Omni software will track your distance traveled and calories burned along the way. Yeah, it's going to quantify the benefits of playing video games. You'll have hard data to support your decision to game for 48 hours straight on the weekends and stay inside even when it's a beautiful day out and your mom thinks your pallid complexion suggests you could really use some vitamin D.
  • The Omni will be ready to play out of the box with any game/app that uses keyboard input.
  • Initially, the Omni will be compatible most notably with the Oculus Rift ($300 for development kit) and Razer Hydra.

The Omni base is a low-friction surface with grooves. To use, players wear specially designed shoes with pins that fit into the grooves to keep feet stabilized and prevent unwanted lateral slide, while retaining the player's ability to use a natural gait within VR games. The Omni package will include the base and shoes, as well as a support (safety) belt and tracking hardware and software.

Head mounted displays (i.e., the Oculus Rift), game controllers, and a PC are not included in Kickstarter pledge pricing levels. Omni's campaign runs through July 22, 2013.

Thanks to Robert M. for another great product suggestion. If you've seen something Dude-worthy, let us know about it via the Dude Product Tips form.

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